There appears to be a great controversy brewing. No, it has nothing to do with which is more appropriate: chardonnay and pinot grigio or vodka martinis and cosmos at Friday’s playdate?
Nope – lawmakers across the country are debating the merits of mandatory HPV vaccinations for girls, which, proponents claim, would k.o. the virus linked to cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 11,500 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,600 will die from it. The question whether or not to require the shots (three doses over 6 months at $120 a pop) heated up a week ago when Texas governor, Rick Perry, issued an executive order requiring the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls (parents can opt out for reasons of conscience). In that time, 18 other states have opened debate and are similarly considering legislation, though the measures have drawn the ire of anti-vaccine and religious conservative groups.
Clinical trials indicate the vaccine stymied infection with two strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers and two strains responsible for 90% or genital warts. Research indicates that most cervical cancer occurs in adult women, however, the Centers for Disease Control recommend the injections be given before puberty (11- to 12-years old) or as young as 9-years-of-age. Opponents argue that although the vaccine, Gardasil, is effective in preventing cancer and genital warts, the glaring difference between HPV and other diseases currently vaccinated against (HepA, HepB, DVT, etc) is that HPV is contracted in only one way: through sexual contact. Conservatives and parents rights groups argue the requirement would encourage premarital sex and interfere with the way they raise their children. This is all well and good, but since most people with genital HPV never know they have HPV, it is possible (and, in some respects, probable**) they will be infected at some point in their lives.
Where do you come down on this debate? Should it be mandatory? Should it be up to the parents in this case?
I’m not sure where I come down on this yet. I don’t like being told by the government or others how best to raise my children i.e. when to have certain conversations, whether or not I can spank, whether or not I can drink responsibly in front of my children. As an adult and parent, I have the freedom and the responsibility to make these decisions on my own without interference. Would I consider having my daughter vaccinated against it? I would. But it’s also up to Mrs. Big Dubya as well. And I don’t think it should be up to some legislator to tell me I need to get my daughter vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease.
So, maybe I do know where I come down on this. Look at that.